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Call of Duty: Vanguard first look: bringing the series back to WW2

There is scene in 2014 Wolfenstein: New Order where J, a character inspired by Jimi Hendrix, explains to the game’s white protagonist BJ Blaskovich why he isn’t fighting. After Blaskovich answers, J tells him, “You don’t understand, do you? Before all this, before the Germans, before the war, at home, you were Nazis. “

What I love about this scene is how it complicates the lightweight narrative we so often tell ourselves about WWII. New order understands World War II better than almost any other conflict-inspired game. Nazism then, as now, was never an ideology that existed only in Nazi Germany… And in internment camps in the United States and Canada, and in cities such as Dresden and Hiroshima, the Allies have committed countless injustices of their own.

This is the scene I came back to as shown by Sledgehammer Games Call of Duty: Vanguard, the next entry in Activision’s long-running series of first-person shooters, during an online event last week. As 2017 Call of Duty: World War II, previous studio project as lead developer for the franchise, Vanguard takes the series back to where it all began: World War II.

After talking about the studio’s pursuit of diversity and creating a safe space for all employees, essentially echoing the same company line that Activision Blizzard executives have been saying since California filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the publisher, Sledgehammer studio head Aaron Halon introduced Vanguard directed by Josh Bridge and campaign manager David Swenson. Bridge told us how the studio got out of Call of Duty: World War II the feeling that it only scratched the surface of the stories that the conflict was supposed to tell. “We see [Vanguard] as rooted in history, but not related to it. There is no revisionist story here, ”he said, and this statement is repeated in the bulleted list in his Powerpoint presentation.

Sledgehammer Games / Activision

After showing a cinematic trailer for the game and a snippet of gameplay, Swenson talked about the game’s history. How New order, Vanguard uses the alternate reality of war to tell his story, but at first glance seems like a much less ambitious retelling. Going back to how Infinity Ward did things when the series first started, VanguardThe campaign will feature four playable characters, each based on a different historical character.

In Polina Petrova Kuvalda drew inspiration from Lyudmila Pavlichenko, a Soviet sniper who was known as Lady Death due to her 309 confirmed kills, is the most female sniper in history. Wade Jackson, one of the other characters, is based on Vernon L. Michael, a US Navy pilot who bombed two Japanese aircraft carriers during the Battle of Midway. Then there’s Lucas Riggs. It draws from Charles Upham, the only soldier in World War II to receive two Victoria Cross medals.

Finally, you have Arthur Kingsley. His inspiration Sydney Cornell, a black British paratrooper who received the Distinguished Service Medal in Normandy. To its credit, the studio turned to a science fiction writer for help. Tochi Onebuchi write the character of Kingsley and cast Chike Okonkwo, best known for his role as Will in The birth of a nationto give him a voice.

Call of Duty: Vanguard

Sledgehammer Games / Activision

Initially, these four find themselves in different theaters of war, but they were eventually merged to take part in a fictional mission called Operation Phoenix. The Nazis, led by a character named Heinrich Freisinger, have developed a plan to survive the end of the war, and the newly formed Special Forces team Petrov, Jackson, Riggs and Kingsley must stop them. Like the four main characters, Freisinger has a historical counterpart. It is based on the infamous Gestapo chief. Heinrich Müller

Bridge said the studio views the film as “a cinematic blockbuster with a modern story.” The end-to-end line connecting both the storyline and the multiplayer component of the game is how World War II heralded the birth of the modern idea of ​​special forces. This is World War II, reimagined as the entry point to the expanded Call of Duty universe. I won’t say that this is unexpected, but after Sledgehammer tried to tell a more detailed story about PTSD in CoD: World War II, I hoped he would set the goal even higher.

At the opening of Sledgehammer, she spent much more time talking about Vanguardstory than letting the game speak for itself. From the single-player campaign, the developer only showed a brief snippet of the early level in which Kingsley is involved. Operation Tonga, on which British paratroopers landed near Caen during the Allied invasion of Normandy. If you saw Brotherhood, you already know exactly how this segment will develop.

Call of Duty: Vanguard

Sledgehammer Games / Activision

You jump out of an airplane in a predetermined sequence in which you lose your rifle before landing. After a series of quick events, your character is in front of the field, and the goal marker tells the player that he needs to make his way to the windmill from a distance. On a part of the level, you need to sneak through the lines of the enemy.

Except for an unexpected moment towards the end of the clip, nothing I saw struck me as something the franchise hadn’t done before, but the execution was still convincing. In keeping with the conditions faced by the Allied paratroopers during the D-Day invasion, much of the mission takes place in choking fog and darkness. This gave the level more ambiance than your typical CoD mission. In particular, the use of lighting was deliberate, which I haven’t seen on the show for a while, the effect is more realistic thanks to the work of Sledgehammer and other CoD studios to update. Modern warfare IW 8.0 engine.

What else struck me about this sequence was the stolen Kar98K that Kingsley used to dispatch his Nazi pursuers. When he fired his bolt-action rifle, it emitted a deafening explosion and left enemies pinned to the floor and walls. The weapons were more physical than the assault rifles that usually dominate the CoD metagame. According to the studio, this “solid” gameplay has spent most of the nearly four years since then. CoD: World War II improvement.

Call of Duty: Vanguard

Sledgehammer Games / Activision

It’s hard to say if the rest of the single-player campaign will be more methodical for the skirmish that Hammerhead demonstrated in the snippet I saw. However, I can state that the multiplayer mode will seem familiar to the current Black Ops Cold War and War zone players. What you’ll find is that Sledgehammer has designed maps with more destructible and interactive elements. The video shared by the studio showed how bookshelves, tables and boarded up windows can be removed to reveal the view during the match.

At startup Vanguard There will be 20 multiplayer maps, 16 of which will support up to 12 players in six-on-six matches. Additionally, Sledgehammer brings back Gunsmith, a fan favorite feature that lets you customize your weapon with different attachments and ammo types. Naturally, the Treyarch Zombie Mode returns and will be linked to the story set in Black Ops Cold War… Oh, and Raven Software is working on War zone map and update, which will introduce a completely new anti-cheat system. Sledgehammer has promised to share more information on the multiplayer component Vanguard, including details on a new mode called Champion Hill, which the studio says will offer players something new in the coming weeks.

This will give Call of Duty It’s time for fans to see if there is Vanguard worth another trip to World War II before the game will be released on Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, PlayStation 4, PS5, and PC via on November 5.

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